Montana's new U.S. Representative prepared to head to Washington


Montana's new U.S. Representative prepared to head to Washington

MISSOULA, Mont. - Steve Daines will take over for Representative Denny Rehberg in early January.  Daines, a Bozeman businessman, beat out Democrat Kim Gillan to win the seat.

When he gets to Washington he'll face a contentious climate and the aftermath of whether the lame-duck session hammers out a deal on the fiscal cliff.

Thursday NBC Montana sat down and talked with Daines about his goals.  He told us his top priority is to push for a balanced budget in Washington and to make sure Montanans' voices are heard.

"We need to get balanced budgets back in Washington," said Daines.  "Forty-nine states require a balanced budget; Montana requires a balanced budget; why not the Federal government?"

He's also preparing for fallout from the fiscal cliff -- whether automatic tax hikes and spending cuts will take effect at the beginning of the year, or whether the current session will cut a deal.

"Well, I don't know if it's going to be finished," said Daines, referring to fiscal cliff decisions.  "We're rolling up our sleeves and getting ready to go to work."

This week Daines learned what U.S. House Committees he'll sit on: Natural Resources, Transportation and Infrastructure and Homeland Security committees.

"It was important, I think, that Montana's voice is heard back in Congress, especially if it relates to our natural resources," said Daines.  "That's a point I made to the leadership back there and we were appointed that committee."
Daines explained to NBC Montana that he, alongside Montana's two Democratic Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus, wants to make sure the voices of Montanans are heard in Washington.

He told us despite the party divide he thinks they'll need work with each other to best represent folks in Big Sky Country.

"I think we're going to find some common ground and work together to make sure that when we wake up that were serving Montanans first and not our parties," said Daines.  

Most economists agree the U.S. economy will almost certainly fall back into recession unless Congress makes changes to a package of automated tax increases and spending cuts, which were agreed upon last summer to break a deadlock over raising the debt ceiling.

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